Google Tools and Services

by Vangie Beal

The search technology giant has expanded into blogging, mapping, shopping, research and more. In fact, Google now has so many services it's hard to keep them straight. Here's a quick rundown on what the company's got to offer.

As Google continues to work its way into the world of e-commerce, you should know its product line — if you don't already. Google has expanded its search technology into blogging, mapping, shopping, research and more. In fact, Google now has so many services it's hard to keep them straight. Here's a quick rundown to help you boost your Google IQ.

Google Search
Throughout its brief history, Google has focused on developing the "perfect search engine" by combining overall importance and query-specific relevance to present search results. Google offers a host of Web search services you can access through the main search page. For example, to use the calculator you simply type your math question into the Google search box, or for dictionary listings simply type "definition" in the search box before the search term — there is no need to load a separate search page. Google also provides quick links to different types of searches directly from the main Google search engine page, or you can access them by clicking "more" on the main search page.

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Google Code
Google code offers quick access to Google APIs and open source code for developers. Some of the current offerings include AdWords API, Blogger API, Earth SDK, Talk (XMPP), News Feeds, Desktop API, along with many other APIs and Open Source projects.

Google Labs
Nicknamed "Google's Technology Playground," Google Labs provides access to some of Google's beta and in-development projects. You can try the prototypes and then send your comments on the product or service directly to Google developers. Some of the current prototypes available include Google Extensions for Firefox, Google Related Links, Google page Creator, Google Scholar, Web Alerts and more.

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Blog Search
Similar to Google search, Blog search allows you to look for your search term within blogs only. Results are from all published Blogs, not just those published through Blogger.

Smart shopping through Froogle helps you find and compare product prices both online and in nearby stores. With Froogle you can sort search results by price, search within a specific price range, or compare product prices. To use the local shopping feature, simply add a geographical region to your search (e.g., Dell Inspirion, New York, NY) and you'll see stores near your search location. You can also view a map or get driving directions.

Google AdWords
Google AdWords provides a way to purchase targeted cost-per-click (CPC) or cost-per-impression (CPM) advertising. AdWords ads are displayed along with organic search results on Google, as well as on search and content sites within the Google Network (including Google Maps and Blogger). To use AdWords you pay a one-time activation fee, and after that you pay only for clicks on your keyword-targeted AdWords ads, or for impressions on your site-targeted ads. You can control your costs by selecting how much you're willing to pay per click or per impression and by setting a daily budget for spending in your account.

Google Maps is mapping technology and local business information — including business locations, contact information and driving directions. Google Maps offers users business search results, draggable maps, satellite images, detailed driving directions and keyboard shortcuts to move around in a map view.

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Google Scholar provides a way to broadly search for scholarly literature. From one place, you can search across many disciplines and sources: peer-reviewed papers, theses, books, abstracts and articles, from academic publishers, professional societies, preprint repositories, universities and other scholarly organizations.

Special Searches
Google's special searches lets you narrow down search results to a specific topic. Current Google Special Searches include a public service search university search, U.S. Government, Linux, BSD, Apple Macintosh, and Microsoft.

Blogger is an easy-to-use Web site that allows you to quickly and easily post thoughts, interact with people, and more. This is a free Google service.

One of the first Google products, Gmail offers another option for Webmail. Webmail is software run by an ISP or online service that provides access to send, receive and review e-mail using only your Web browser. Users can enter the Webmail Web site URL in their browser's address or location field, and use their Webmail account by typing in a username and password.

Google's Gmail is a beta service, but many people have found it easy to get accepted or referred by someone else already using Gmail. Gmail comes with built-in Google search technology and more than 2,600 megabytes of storage (and growing every day). There are no pop-ups or untargeted banner ads in Gmail, only small text ads. Gmail also integrates instant messaging into the e-mail through Google Talk and integrates with Google calendar as well.

Google Talk
Google's free talk client offers a way to communicate over the Internet using instant messaging, e-mail (using Gmail), or by voice. To use all three communication methods using Talk, you need an Internet connection, a microphone, and a speaker. Without the voice talk, you can still use Talk as an IM client.

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Google Groups
Google Groups allows groups of people to communicate through e-mail and the Web. Each Google group has a home page hosted by Google where members can start new discussions or reply to older topics. Google Groups also allows you to easily create your own announcement lists, mailing lists and public discussions.

Google Calendar
One of the most recent additions to Google products is the Google Calendar. This service is designed to lep people organize daily, monthly and yearly events and also share calendars with co-workers, family or friends. If you use Gmail, you can also send events directly from e-mail to your calendar.

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Free Software and Google Mobile Services

Google Desktop
Google Desktop is a desktop search application that provides full text search over your e-mail, files, music, photos, chats, Gmail, Web pages that you've viewed and more. The latest version of Desktop also includes Google gadgets — interactive mini-applications that can be anything from games to search tools to media players, and they can be any shape and size. You can also create your own gadgets in addition to using the ready-made ones.

Picasa is a free software download from Google that helps to instantly find, edit and share all the pictures on your computer. It also offers easy to use one-click editing tools and options.

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Google Pack
Google pack is a selection of free software for your desktop PC. This pack contains a selection of Google software that includes Google Earth, Picasa, Google Pack Screensaver, Google Desktop, Google Toolbar. Additional software includes Mozilla Firefox with Google Toolbar, Norton Antivirus 2005 Special Edition, Ad-Aware SE Personal, and Adobe Reader 7. The optional software list includes Google Talk, RealPlayer, Google Video Player and GalleryPlayer HD Images.

Google Mobile
Mobile is a Google service that allows mobile users to search the Web, search images, or search the mobile Web (made up of sites that are specifically designed to fit your phone screen). Google also offers several products via mobile services, which includes Maps for mobile devices (view maps and get directions on your phone) and SMS (text messaging).


Adapted from ECommerce-Guide.com, part of Internet.com's Small Business Channel.

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This article was originally published on Monday Jun 19th 2006
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